I’m making progress. I’m trying to do the right things and do things right, which can seem like more of an art than a science. While change happens slowly, and habits are formed over time, I feel like I am getting in a groove. But sometimes I don’t pay attention to those crucial seconds, those crucial minutes each day in which we make crucial choices. Like how to react to a comment or a question, how to engage with a colleague or customer, what to say and do as we move about our day.
Sometimes these don’t feel like choices we are making at all. Those reactions we have to people and circumstances are sometimes so ingrained in us, and so automatic, that we don’t even recognize there may be a better way. Sometimes we don’t reflect at all, but we move on to the next call, the next meeting, the next item on our to-do list.
As I read Great by Choice this month, I am constantly reflecting on my choices. Sometimes I am proud of myself. Like when I chose to eat based on nutritional value rather than convenience. Or when I chose to take a breath before reacting to a less-than-complementary comment about HR’s inefficiencies (it seems non-HR people know way more about HR than we do – deep breath). Other times I wonder how I got here, when I got so pessimistic, and I just have to acknowledge that I have some relationships to mend.
But through all of this, I feel really good about the fact that reflection has become so important to me. And I am shocked by how much I learn about myself if I take the time to reflect. Although reading this book is a great choice in and of itself, I think that just reading it, taking notes, and then moving on to the next thing will cause me to go in circles, repeating the same behaviors and choices, not truly changing anything.
So, to those of you reading this post, today or years from now, take the time to reflect on how you interact with those around you today. Reflect on it, see it from another perspective, and decide for yourself if those interactions strengthened your relationships, or if you are going in circles, reacting without pausing at that crucial time you can make a better choice. You may learn more from yourself, your reflections, and your ability to be introspective, than you could ever learn from a book.